This moment in the season is so short-lived, but so incredibly gorgeous. The campus is in full bloom!
This year Meera has been in pre-school. It is a M-W-F program, so she has been home every Tuesday and Thursday. For the fall semester we had the wonderful Niomi as Meera’s Tuesday-Thursday babysitter (she was mentioned a few times on the blog). This spring semester we’ve had another fabulous babysitter— Cristina.
Cristina has been such a great friend/big-sister/babysitter to Meera. Today was her last day (this is the last week of classes at Lehigh). This morning she sent me the photo collage above. I think it captures so perfectly what a great time these two have had.
One of Meera’s favorite things to do is to go with Cristina to visit her sorority house. Photo below (another photo from Cristina!) is Meera in Cristina’s room:
One day Cristina let Meera try her lipstick (a novelty for Meera since Mommy has no lipstick!). Photo below (yes, another photo from Cristina!) is them on that day:
I hope posts like this one serve to jog the memories of my kids when they are much older.
* * *
You were an amazingly happy child. You formed real bonds with special people. They made you so happy, and you made them so happy. As a result, your childhood was overflowing with happiness. That’s really the only good way to describe it. These people are part of the foundation of you. Look at these photos, and know you were loved by so many.
* * *
Thank you for being such a wonderful spring semester babysitter for Meera. You never cancelled once! You were never late! You cleaned up the apartment every time Little Miss M made a mess of it! You were a great friend and role model to Meera. Most of all, you made one 4-year-old girl very, very happy (and thus, made her working mommy very, very content). That is invaluable.
Dana (a Sayre Senior) and Meera. Dana gave Meera the tiara; Meera gave Dana the daffodils
We have made so many good friends all over campus this year. But for sure our Sayre friends are the most special. We simply see them the most, and spend the most time together. We live together. We have a real community going on here. There are certain students we see just about every day, and others we see from time-to-time, and some of those we (especially K, O, and M) have really tight connections with. In moving to campus it truly never occurred to me to think too much about how it was going to be for us to get really close with certain students, and then watch as they move out and/or graduate. It is something I’m now thinking a lot about as we quickly approach the end of the school year and commencement.
To be honest, I’m worried about this.
I know the bambinos are tough, and they’ll be ok. But I also know their hearts will hurt and there will be a lot of emotions wrapped up with the move-out of our neighbors as the semester closes. I’m sure, too, that commencement will take on a whole new meaning this year. These past few beautiful spring days I find myself watching my kids (my children and my students/neighbors) playing together outside at Sayre and I can’t help but think of what is soon to come. This time of year, on a college campus, is not just a time of wrapping things up and final exams, but it is a time of goodbyes too.
When the relationships are real the feelings are real. I know that I will struggle a bit in the days to come, as I watch the Sayre students move out (and the seniors graduate). I know that the bambinos will need to find ways to get their minds and hearts around that too. And I also know that some of these students will feel it in very real ways. It is what we signed up for. But still. That doesn’t make it easy.
Kyle and Owen this morning
Today was Opening Day. The First Game of the Season. The South Side Bandits vs. the Fountain Hill Hoseys.
The newcomers on the team. The youngest on the team. The only non-Hispanic/Latinos on the team. The only non-Spanish-speaking on the team. For the first time in their baseball careers– not the best on the team. Entering a whole new world: Hard Core Baseball.
Just as scrappy as the other South Side boys. Holding their own (mighty well). Heads held high. Catching on quick to the important Spanish phrases (and slurs). Willing to work their tushies off — on, and off, the field. And, lucky for them (and us), gifted with pure raw natural athletic talent. Not the best on the team, but definitely right up there and major contributors. Not to be messed with. Two to be watched.
A few weeks ago we took a chance and they tried out for the 9-10 Year Old Team for our new locale: South Side LIttle League. They took 15 boys. K & O were two of them. After two weeks of practice they cut the team, with no apologies, from 15 to 12. K & O made the cut. They’re hanging in there. And hanging in strong. Today their team won the season opener. The final score was 10 to 9. It was a Nail Biter. We watched as K & O made some big impressions.
So proud of my boys today.
You know I rarely ask for anything. Today I’m asking that you please consider donating to support our friends the Kulps as they do the WALK NOW FOR AUTISM SPEAKS in honor of their daughter Grace.
The Kulps are dear friends of ours who adopted their two beautiful daughters, Joy & Grace, from China. Gracie is autistic. We’ve learned so much from this family. Please support their support of autism research and activism.
The walk is Saturday. Please donate today!!!
DONATE HERE: Team Gracie Walk for Autism Speaks
This cause is near and dear to our hearts. As I’m sure it is to so many of yours. Even $5 would be a great symbolic message of the importance of autism research and support. Thanks for reading y’all,
Tonight, on our way back to Sayre from the dining hall at Rathbone. This campus could not be more gorgeous. Trees flowering everywhere.
Yesterday was Lehigh’s 26th Annual International Bazaar. We had the best time.
Again, as with many other events (most recent example, Spring Fling), in years past our family had never attended the International Bazaar. I remember hearing about these things and always thinking, “Wow, I’d love to bring my kids to that,” but then when push came to shove we rarely did. It just seemed like too much hassle to pack everyone up, make the drive in (even though it was only 20 minutes), and take the risk of the thing being a total flop. Plus, to be honest, on the weekends I usually felt like I wanted to stay away from Lehigh and not run into students/faculty/staff.
I feel really differently about it now. Living here, it is so easy for us to just go do it. It is right in our backyard, our kids are 100% comfortable here, and there is no hassle. If it is a total flop, we can easily find something else to do or just go home. And I’ve done a 180 in my feelings about meshing (or not meshing) “work” and “home.” I’m feeling totally seamless in my ‘work-home-self’ these days; it is all running together; and I’m finding that it is much easier for me this way than in trying to separate it all out. And so, more often than not, we decide to just go for it. I’m so glad we went for it yesterday!
It was a really good time. We ate so much great food (we marvel in our kids’ willingness to try it all — and try it all we did — and it all we ate! the bambinos cannot get enough of this stuff!). We heard/saw great entertainment. We ran into so many of our favorite students. We had so much fun. The bambinos were in their glory loving every minute of it. Kyle, especially, was in heaven. “Mommy!,” he kept saying to me, “this is MY KIND OF THING!” “Mommy!,” he kept saying, “I love this!” He is all about soaking up everything he can in/about/of other cultures. This boy is a diversity junkie if I ever knew one. He is all about it. Kyle’s current obsession/fixation is where he’ll go for study abroad (“Mommy! What will I do?! There are just so many places I want to go!”). I’ve assured him we have a solid 12 years before we have to figure that out.
It was a beautiful day and we were so glad we went. Kudos to the Office of International Students and Scholars, all of the many student clubs and organizations who contributed to making the day amazing. Thank you from the J-Ms!
The past couple of days it rained and rained. But this morning we woke up to a beautiful clear day… and a campus in full bloom with daffodils.
We had been watching and waiting for the past couple of weeks. We watched as the first shoots of green peeked up through the ground. And we watched as the stems and leaves grew. And we watched as the blooms looked closer and closer to bursting. And now there are hundreds of thousands of daffodils everywhere we look all over our campus. It is amazing.
We know they won’t last long, and especially after the rain, many of the stems were leaning over. Meera and I decided today that it would be ok to cut some. We had so much fun. Meera has been waiting and wishing for this chance. Today she got it!
And tonight we have a vase full of gorgeous daffodils. Spring is in full bloom.
Ten years ago, when our niece Sadie was born, Braydon and I got in the car and made the trip from New Jersey (where we were living then) to Maine to see her. It was a very memorable trip. Sadie was twelve days old when we met her — so tiny. She was the first grandchild in our family, and I’ll never forget how precious she was. There is just nothing like a family expanding with a new child. There is nothing like seeing your sister with a brand new baby. And there is nothing like a newborn — it is such a special time for all involved.
So when my sister Stina approached her due date with her second baby, ten years later, I knew without any doubt that nothing was going to stop me from making that trip to see the newborn baby. And I really wanted my kids to know where I stand on the importance of such a trip: that when a new child enters the family we make all sorts of special exceptions (skipping school! missing work! re-arranging everything!), and we go all out (all out! way out of our way!), to meet the new member and mark the occasion. I want my kids to know that this is one of those milestone times in life where you just pull out all the stops. These things happen far too infrequently in a lifetime, and are much too important, to be taken lightly.
Lukasz Maksimowicz was born on March 15, 2013. Twelve days later we packed up and schlepped our kids from Pennsylvania to Maine to meet our nephew/cousin. It was a very special trip. We all were able to welcome our new family member and see his precious little newborn self right up close.
Kyle and Meera each got to hold Lukasz one time (precious photos above). And they were somewhat ok with that (I had tried hard to keep their expectations for holding-time reigned in). Owen got to hold him twice, but would have held him non-stop if he could have.
Much of the visit Owen spent doing something along the lines of this (see below!), just hoping against all hope that he could hold/touch/touch/hold that little baby cousin of his:
I am like Owen– It is hard for me to be around a newborn baby (let alone a new family member!) and not want to just snuggle him up! And Lukasz is just incredibly precious. Braydon and I took over 100 photos of our beautiful new nephew! I narrowed it down to these six favorites:
There is something amazing and breath-taking about seeing your own family’s family grow. Sadie is now a big sister! And Mark and Stina have a baby boy!
My parents have a new grandson!
And there are now 5 grandkids on the couch!
So, now, there is Lukasz. We have a new nephew/cousin. And all is good.
And we are so glad we made that trip. A once in a lifetime opportunity. Wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
(Below: my favorite picture from the trip — all four big kids crowd around to view The Changing Of The Diaper!)
It feels official: we’re in our third season in Sayre. Spring is here! These days certain boys (ages 8 and 18) are playing pick-up wiffle ball. And certain girls (ages 4 and 40) have broken out the bubbles. A new season begins!
Yesterday was Lehigh’s Spring Fling. This is a huge event for the local community (you can read about this annual event here). We had never been before (to tell you the truth, I never even ever knew about it before we lived on campus). So when Carolina Hernandez, the Director of Lehigh’s Community Service Office, invited our family to attend, I didn’t quite know what to expect. But I know Carolina, and I know she’s the real deal, so I wanted to both support her and her office — and check out what it was all about — so we went. Little did we know that we were in for such a treat.
It was amazing. It takes a lot to blow me away. And this thing blew me away. I was just totally impressed with every single aspect of the whole entire event. All five of us — as well as the 1,100+ community folks in attendance — had an absolute blast! Highlights for Meera: crafts! & she got to have 2 — yes 2! — pink cotton candy! Highlights for Kyle and Owen: pony rides! & finding a few of their friends from their Little League team and having an impromptu playdate with them on campus! Highlights for Braydon and me: a gorgeous sunny spring day & feeling genuinely good about this institution at which we live. THANK YOU CAROLINA! You are a sincere blessing to this place.